The Anonymous Widower

Would A Mutant Many-Parent Child Help To Solve London’s Transport Problems?

London needs to increase the capacity of its public transport system, as the City continues to get larger and larger.

Current Major Projects

There are only three major rail projects ongoing in London at the present time.

The Bank Station Upgrade

The Bank Station Upgrade appears to be progressing well, albeit perhaps it’s a bit late due to the pandemic.

It is a complex project and from what I have heard and observed, it has been well designed and planned.

The Barking Riverside Extension

As with the Bank Station Upgrade the Overground extension to the new Barking Riverside station, appears to be going reasonably well.

But compared to that project, it is a relatively simple project, built mainly in the open air, with no tunneling.

Crossrail

Crossrail is in trouble, after what many believe was a very good tunnelling phase of the project.

But then tunnels under London usually seem to go well. I can remember the Victoria Line tunnelling and many other under London since the 1960s and all of these tunnels seem to have been dug without trouble. As I write, there don’t seem to be any tunneling problems with the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Crossrail now has been reduced to a series of station builds and rebuilds, some of which are as large as the Bank Station Upgrade, with other ongoing projects like the testing of trains and systems.

So why are some of these stations running late in their delivery?

If you walk along the route of Crossrail in the City of London and through Clerkenwell and the West End, it is one massive building side as developers raise massive clusters of new developments around and above the Crossrail stations.

The picture shows Farrington station’s Eastern entrance, with a new development on top.

This one wasn’t a big one, but it went up in record time.

These buildings are often funded by Sovereign Wealth Funds, who want their buildings finished ASAP and as they have bottomless pockets, they are prepared to pay more to get the builders and tradesmen they need.

And where did they get the workers from? Other projects, including Crossrail.

This problem happened in Aberdeen at the height of the oil boom in the last century.

I also think that Brexit worsened the problem, as workers from mainland EU moved to large projects closer to home, like Stuttgart 21 and the new Berlin Brandenburg airport, that were both very much in trouble and could have been offering premium salaries as well!

The solution would have been to phase developments so that the limited pool of workers was not exhausted.

But that probably wouldn’t have suited the developers and politicians for all sorts of reasons.

  • An uncompleted building doesn’t bring in money and jobs.
  • Early completion must improve chances of letting the building.
  • Delaying the building would probably have meant fewer holidays for politicians in exotic locations.

Hopefully, a comprehensive enquiry into the lateness of Crossrail will provide answers.

High Speed Two

High Speed Two is to my mind a London local project. But only in a secondary way!

  • Rebuilding Euston station will improve Underground connections and interchange at Euston and Euston Square stations.
  • It is claimed by High Speed Two, that the rebuilt Euston station will create 16000 jobs and 2200 homes.
  • High Speed Two will enable massive development at Old Oak Common, with tens of thousands of homes and jobs.
  • Old Oak Common station will be a very important rail hub in North-West London.

With seventeen trains per hour (tph) between Euston and Old Oak Common will High Speed Two attract local traffic?

  • I suspect High Speed Two between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly and between Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street will also attract local traffic.
  • I’ve used TGVs between Nice and Antibes.
  • Tourists might visit, just like they did and still do at the Olympic Park.
  • Many Londoners will join High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Some wag will suggest putting it on the Tube Map. But is it such a stupid idea?

Where Does London Need More Rail Services?

Having lived in London on and off for over seventy years, I feel the worst areas for rail links are probably.

  • North West London
  • South East London
  • South Central London between Wimbledon and Croydon.
  • South West London

Note.

  1. Over the years, there is no doubt that East and North London have improved considerably, with the development of the East London, North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
  2. Thameslink has been improved in North London and now it is being supported with improvements to the Northern City Line. Both routes now have new Siemens trains, which give a whole new dimension to using ironing-boards as seats.
  3. Crossrail will produce major improvements in West, East and South East London.
  4. Building of a new Penge Interchange station, which I wrote about in Penge Interchange could improve routes to and from South East London.
  5. Hopefully the work in recent years at Waterloo will improve suburban services out of Waterloo. In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed that four tph could be run to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations.

It looks like North West and South Central London are missing out.

How Can Services Be Improved In North West London?

There are radial routes from the centre of London to the suburbs.

Starting from the North and going to the West, there are the following lines.

When I used to live at Cockfosters as a child,  to visit my many cousins in North West London, there was no alternative but to use a bus and take well over an hour each way.

There are now some circular rail routes in London but nothing in the North West of the capital.

The Dudding Hill Line And The West London Orbital Railway

But there is the little-used freight route called Dudding Hill Line.

  • It runs between Cricklewood on the Midland Main Line and Acton Central on the North London Line.
  • It is four miles of double-track railway.

This YouTube video shows a cab ride from Acton to Cricklewood.

Plans exist to turn it into the West London Orbital Railway, which will run two services.

  • West Hampstead and Hounslow via Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton, Lionel Road, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth
  • Hendon and Kew Bridge via Brent Cross West, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton

Note.

  1. The proposed frequency of both services is four tph.
  2. There would be some stations to be built, but the track exists.
  3. There would be no new tunnels.
  4. The route is technically feasible.
  5. The route would connect West London to High Speed Two.
  6. There would be little disruption whilst it was built.
  7. The services could be run by dual-voltage battery-electric trains charged on the electrification at both ends of the route.
  8. The scheme represents a high value for money, with a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 2.2.

On the other hand, the scheme has two serious problems, as far as the current London Mayor is concerned.

  • Transport for London has no money, partly because of London’s Fare Freeze.
  • The project is not in South London.

This important and value-for-money project will not be built, whilst Sadiq Khan is still Mayor of London.

Harlesden Interchange

I believe that if we get the interchanges right on the West London Orbital Railway correct we can do things like.

  • Increase the benefit cost ratio.
  • Link the route to South London to make the Mayor a bit happier about the North London Scheme.

This Google Map shows Harlesden station.

Note.

  1. The Bakerloo Line/Watford DC Line running North-West/South-East through Harlesden station.
  2. The West Coast Main Line in the Southern section of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line running North-South across the map.

Platforms will be built on the Dudding Hill Line to connect that would probably be new or extended platforms in the current Harlesden station to enable interchange between the West London Orbital and the Watford DC Lines.

I also think there is a possibility that platforms could be added to the slow tracks of the West Coast Main Line, so that suburban services into London Euston can also connect to the West London Orbital Line.

It would also enable a connection between Southern’s Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes service and the West London Orbital Railway.

Looking at this from various angles, I think that an architect good at designing three-dimensional structures could develop a quality Harlesden Interchange station.

Neasden Interchange

Like Harlesden, Neasden is another possibility for a comprehensive interchange.

This Google Map shows Neasden station.

Note.

  1. There are a lot of lines going through Neasden station.
  2. The Dudding Hill Line goes across the South-East corner of the map.
  3. There is plenty of space in the area.

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The Dudding Hill Line is indicated by the former Dudding Hill station.
  2. The red tracks are Metropolitan Line tracks.
  3. The silver tracks are Jubilee Line tracks.
  4. The Southerly pair of lines through Neasden and Dollis Hill stations are Chiltern’s lines into Marylebone.
  5. The Chiltern tracks divide to the West of Neasden station, with the Aylesbury line following the other tracks and the Chiltern Main Line diverging to the West.
  6. London’s largest Underground Depot at Neasden, lies to the North-West in an area of London noted for few merits with the North Circular Road passing through.

I wonder, if the station and the depot offers a unique opportunity to offer large scale additions to London’s housing stock over the top of a rebuilt station and depot.

This Google Map shows the wider area.

Note.

  1. Much of the depot appears to be open-air stabling for trains.
  2. The North Circular Road passes North-South between the depot and Neasden station.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line cuts across the South-East corner of the map.
  4. This corner of the map is labelled as Dudden Hill.
  5. According to Wikipedia, Dudding Hill is considered a more genteel spelling of Dudden Hill and could be as old as 1544.

It looks as if it would be relatively easy to develop over the top of the depot to create housing, industrial or commercial properties.

But why stop there and cover both the North Circular Road and the six tracks through Neasden station?

Neasden station could be rebuilt into a station with platforms on the following lines.

  • Metropolitan Line
  • Jubilee Line
  • Chiltern Lines
  • Dudding Hill Lines

Note.

  1. I estimate that Chiltern has a train about every six minutes, so some could stop.
  2. There might be space for a bay platform for Chiltern.

Neasden could be a major housing and transport hub.

  • There could be large amounts of parking.
  • Road access would be good.
  • It would have good rail connections.
  • It could have a bus interchange.
  • London needs housing.

It might even be an alternative to Chiltern’s plan for a West Hampstead Interchange.

The Mayor of London, Transport for London and the Borough of Brent need to be bold!

Improvements To Chiltern’s Routes

Chiltern Railways have some plans that could improve services in North West London.

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

Wikipedia says this about using the Acton-Northolt Line to access new platforms at Old Oak Common station.

Upgrading the Acton–Northolt line (formerly the “New North Main Line”) to new platforms at Old Oak Common. This upgrade will also extend to London Paddington to increase capacity on the Chiltern Main Line as there is no room to expand the station at Marylebone.

This scheme has merit.

  • The platforms would be connected to the Chiltern Main Line along the route of a partly-disused railway.
  • The route could be double-tracked.
  • There must be space for at least two new platforms.
  • The new platforms could easily handle four tph.
  • There may be a case for some new stations.

The scheme could add valuable extra capacity for Chiltern.

A Chiltern Metro

Wikipedia says this about a  proposed metro service between Marylebone and West Ruislip stations.

  • The Metro would have a frequency of four tph.
  • It would call at Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park and South Ruislip.
  • The service would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip.
  • There would need to be passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and  Wembley Stadium.

Given that the Chiltern Metro was first proposed over a decade ago, perhaps the concept could be increased in scope.

  • Housing and other developments along the route may suggest that a station further out like High Wycombe might be a better terminal.
  • ERTMS in-cab digital signalling is likely to be installed at some time, which would decrease headways between trains and allow more services.
  • Electrification is likely in some form before 2040 and this will improve train performance.
  • If Neasden station were to be rebuilt, as a comprehensive transport and residential development, I believe that this Metro service should also call at Neasden, as it would complement the West London Orbital Railway.

I believe that a review of the Chiltern Metro may mean, that an improved version is worth building.

Improvements To The Milton Keynes And Clapham Junction Service

I feel that this service could be key in improving services between North London and South London via the West London Line and High Speed Two’s station at Old Oak Common.

Currently, this service is as follows.

  • It runs between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations.
  • It has a frequency of one tph.
  • It calls at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton and Imperial Wharf stations.
  • The service used to extend to South Croydon via Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst and East Croydon.
  • It uses Class 377 trains.
  • It shares parts of the route with the London Overground.

I also think it has various issues and questions with respect to the future.

  • The Class 377 trains are only 100 mph units, whereas the outer suburban trains on the West Coast Main Line are 110 mph Class 350 trains, which will soon be replaced by 110 mph Class 730 trains. Do the slower trains cause timetabling problems?
  • Is one tph enough?
  • The route doesn’t serve High Speed Two at Old Oak Common station.
  • Is the service run by the right operator?
  • What is the ideal Southern terminal?

These are my thoughts on the various issues.

The Service As A North-South Link

A friend, who lives in South London has told me, that if you go to an event at Wembley stadium the route is busy.

On the other hand, I’ve used it at midday on a Tuesday and found the trains empty.

But developed properly it could connect the following.

  • Milton Keynes Central
  • Bletchley for the East West Rail Link
  • Watford for the West Coast Main Line to the North
  • Wembley Central for Wembley Stadium and other entertainments
  • Willesden Junction for the North London Line
  • Hythe Road for High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • Shepherd’s Bush for the shopping.
  • Clapham Junction for most of South London and the South of England

It would be a very useful cross-London route to complement Thameslink and the East London Line.

The Frequency

The current Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction has a frequency of one tph.

This may be enough for some parts of the route, as other services also provide services.

But many would argue, that perhaps South of Watford Junction, the service needs to be increased to connect the area to Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.

I feel that High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway give so much connectivity, that between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction needs a frequency of at least eight tph.

As the North London Line and the Watford DC Line are working at a frequency of four tph, this could indicate that a four tph direct service Watford Junction and Clapham Junction be ideal. Perhaps, it could continue North to Milton Keynes with a frequency of two tph.

The Trains

I am absolutely certain, that the full service needs to be operated by dual voltage trains, that are capable of running at 110 mph.

The Class 350/1 trains of West Midlands Trains would probably be ideal for the full service.

  • They are dual voltage trains.
  • They are 110 mph trains.
  • They have a long distance interior.

They are being replaced with new Class 730 trains, so would be available.

If some services were running only as far North as Watford Junction, these could be either Class 378 or Class 710 trains of the London Overground.

The Connection To The West London Line And High Speed Two

This map from Wikipedia by Cnbrb shows the latest iteration of the lines at Old Oak Common station.

Note.

  1. The green route is taken by the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction trains.
  2. The bright blue is High Speed Two.
  3. The purple is Crossrail.
  4. The orange is the Overground
  5. Hythe Road station is proposed for the West London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.
  6. Hythe Road station will have a bay platform to turn trains from the South.
  7. Old Oak Common Lane station is proposed for the North London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.

But where is the connection between the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service and Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two?

  • Access from the South is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • Extra services from the South can be run to and from the bay platform at Hythe Road station.
  • Access from the East is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • How do passengers go between say Wembley Central and Heathrow?

In addition for access from the West is the Overground can be used to Old Oak Common Lane station.

But as things stand at the moment the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service bypasses Hythe Road station and the only ways to go from Milton Keynes to Old Oak Common station for either High Speed Two, Crossrail or the Great Western is to do one of the following.

  • Change to the Watford DC Line at Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone or Wembley Central and then change to the Overground at Willesden Junction for either Old Oak Common Lane or Hythe Road station.
  • Continue South to Shepherd’s Bush station, cross over to the other platform and then come back to Hythe Road station.
  • Go via Euston station. OK for High Speed Two, but not for Crossrail or the Great Western.

They cannot be serious!

I hope that there is a cunning plan to enable the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service to connect.

Whilst on the subject of connections at Old Oak Common, where is the promised connection of Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line?

Were all these connections just kicked into the long grass and quietly forgotten, as they were deemed too difficult and/or expensive?

I think serious questions need to be asked about the design of Crossrail and High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Why weren’t Crossrail and High Speed Two designed to connect directly to the London Overground at Willesden Junction station perhaps by the use of a North South people mover serving the following lines?

  • Bakerloo, Watford DC, West Coast Main and West London Orbital Lines at a rebuilt Harlesden station.
  • London Overground at the high-level Willesden Junction station.
  • High Speed Two
  • Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • The new Chiltern platforms.
  • Central Line at East Acton station.

Note.

  1. Hythe Road and Old Oak Common stations would not be needed.
  2. The Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service would call additionally at the rebuilt Harlesden station.

The current design of Old Oak Common stinks like a horse designed by a committee!

The Northern Terminal

I suggested earlier that some trains use Watford Junction and others use Milton Keynes Central.

Both stations have the capacity and the connectivity.

The Southern Terminal

In the last ten years, South Croydon, East Croydon and Clapham Junction have been used as the Southern terminal.

Thameslink seems to have chosen its various terminals to satisfaction of the travelling public, so perhaps the same method or personnel should be used.

The Operator

The Gibb Report said that this service should be transferred to the London Overground and I wrote about this proposal in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

This is one suggestion, but I do wonder, if it should be transferred to West Midlands Trains and run in conjunction with their West Coast Main Line services.

  • The service needs 110 mph trains.
  • Timetabling and operation should be easier.
  • London Overground trains don’t have a long-distance interior.

On the other hand, trains running between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction would probably be better if they were London Overground trains.

Conclusion

I believe that by using the current network and some modern trains and signalling, the passenger services to the West of the capital can be substantially improved.

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Thoughts On The Closure Of The Northern Line At Bank To Complete The Upgrade To Bank Station

The Bank Station Upgrade is a major project that will increase the capacity of Bank station by forty percent.

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the project.

It was originally planned that sometime in late 2021, the Northern Line will be closed through Bank station.

The document says this.

We will need to close part of the Northern line Bank branch in 2021, between Kennington and Moorgate, to connect new and existing sections of tunnel safely. Trains will run less frequently on those sections of the Bank branch that are still open. Check back here for details.

This would mean that Bank, London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle stations will be closed on the Northern Line.

To help passengers, TfL say, they will do the following.

  • Run 33% more trains on the Northern line Charing Cross branch
  • Review bus use and consider enhancing services where necessary
  • Investigate scope for passengers to use alternative National Rail services, such as Waterloo to London Bridge, and London Bridge to Cannon Street
  • Review available walking space on the Moorgate to London Bridge pedestrian corridor.

These are my thoughts.

The New Cannon Street Entrance To Bank Station

This visualisation shows the new Cannon Street entrance to Bank station.

Note.

  1. South is to the right and we’re looking from roughly the North-West.
  2. The existing twin bores of the Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The escalator connection to the District and Circle Lines at Monument station Starts at the Southern end of these two narrow platforms.
  4. The new single bore of the new Southbound tunnel on the near side of the visualisation.
  5. The triple escalators descending from the new Cannon Street entrance to one of the four cross-walks between the Northern Line platforms.
  6. The current Eastern ends of these cross-walks are shown in The Southbound Northern Line Platform At Bank Station.

But where is the Docklands Light Railway (DLR)?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Bank station.

Note.

  1. The two existing Northern Line Platforms 3 and 4 are shown in black.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The DLR is shown in turquoise and sneaks under the Northern Line into Platforms 9 and 10.
  4. Platforms 7 and 8 are the platforms of the Waterloo and City Line.
  5. It would appear that the escalator connection between Bank and Monument stations goes between the existing tracks of the Northern Line.

So where is the Docklands Light Railway?

  • As Platforms 3 and 9 appear to be close together with Platform 9, the deeper of the two, I suspect we can’t see  the Docklands Light Railway in the visualisation, as it is hidden behind and underneath everything else.
  • I also suspect that the triple escalators between the new Northern Line cross-walks descend in the space at the Southern ends of Platforms 9 and 10.

This is the Northern end of the visualisation I showed earlier

Note.

  1. North is to the left.
  2. The two tracks and the narrow island platform of the current Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The two staircases leading up from Northern Line to a lobby, where passengers can walk North to the Central Line.
  4. The double escalator barrel going down to the DLR.
  5. The travelator that will connect the Northern and Central Lines
  6. The three cross passages linking the DLR escalators to the lobby between the Central and Northern Lines.
  7. The most Southerly of these cross passages has a lift to the DLR.

The new Southbound platform of the Northern Line, would appear to be to the West of the Docklands Light Railway.

It appears to be a very tight fit.

These pictures show the current status of the new entrance.

There would appear to be still a lot to be done.

This TfL image shows how it will look in 2022.

Ducking And Diving

No-one ducks and dives like Londoners. So rest assured, that if someone needs to get from A to B and the obvious route is blocked, Londoners will always get through. And if all else fails, a black cab will find a way, usually driven by a Londoner or someone infected with the ducking and diving virus.

Crossrail

As ever Crossrail is the herd of elephants in the London railway system.

The Northern Line is possibly the most important North-South route across Central London with two branches through the centre; Bank and Charing Cross.

But Crossrail connects to these  North-South routes.

  • Lea Valley Lines at Stratford
  • East London Line at Whitechapel
  • Lea Valley and West Anglia Lines at Stratford
  • Northern Line Bank Branch at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Northern and City Line at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Thameslink at Farringdon
  • Northern Line Charing Cross Branch at Tottenham Court Road
  • Jubilee Line at Bond Street
  • Bakerloo Line at Paddington

Crossrail will give a lot of opportunities for ducking and diving.

Under original plans Crossrail was supposed to open in 2019, with the Bank station closure for the upgrade in 2021.

This phasing certainly seemed a good idea at the time.

  • Crossrail will be able to offer alternative routes during the closure.
  • If the Crossrail stations are substantially complete, they can release workers to finish Bank station.

I wonder, if it would be sensible to not upgrade the tracks through Bank station until Crossrail opens through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.

As I wrote in Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas, Crossrail could open this year.

So are we being prepared for the mother of all cunning plans?

  • Crossrail between Paddington and Abbey Wood opens before Christmas.
  • The closure of the Bank branch to allow the Bank station upgrade happens at a convenient time after the opening of Crossrail through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.
  • Moorgate continues to have a limited Northern Line service to the North.
  • Crossrail continues work on the other branches.

Note.

  1. There is a crossover to the North of Moorgate station, which might allow Moorgate to work as a two-platform terminal station handling up to 4 or 6 trains per hour (tph).
  2. If Crossrail is running at Moorgate, the station should be step-free to and from the deep-level platforms.
  3. Transport for London are looking at walking routes on the Moorgate and London Bridge route.
  4. During the closure of the Northern Line through Bank, passengers for the City will go to Moorgate and walk or perhaps take a bus.

It is my view, that Crossrail must be open, before the Northern Line through Bank station is closed to allow work to be completed.

A Demonstration of the Northern Line Capacity At Moorgate When Working As A Terminal Station

Yesterday, which was a Sunday, the Northern Line was closed between Moorgate and London Bridge stations.

  • After a walk, I returned home from Moorgate station via Angel station, where I got a 38 bus.
  • I was surprised to find that trains on the Northern Line were leaving Moorgate station for the North every four to five minutes.

This would seem to indicate that frequencies of between 12 and 15 tph are possible.

Current frequencies through Bank station are 24 tph in the Peak and 20 tph in the Off Peak, so it will be a substantial reduction. But it is better, than my original estimate earlier in this section.

33% More Trains on the Northern Line Charing Cross Branch

Currently, the Charing Cross branch has a capacity of twenty-four tph and handles the following services in the Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 2 tph between Edgware and Morden
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington
  • 2 tph between High Barnet and Morden

And these services in the Off Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington

Note.

  1. Extra trains go between the two Northern branches and Morden via the Bank branch.
  2. Kennington and Morden can handle 28 tph and regularly does.
  3. The loop at Kennington turns twenty trains per hour in both the Peak and the Off Peak

If there is an increase of 33 % in the number of trains, this must mean that 32 tph will run through Charing Cross in the Peak and 28 tph in the Off Peak.

  • The signalling system on the Northern Line is the same as that on the Jubilee Line, where it handles 30 tph.
  • It also can handle up to 30 tph between Kennington and Morden on the Northern Line.
  • Perhaps it can be stretched to 32 tph through Charing Cross in the Peak.

If the Charing Cross branch can only be uprated to 30 tph, that is still an increase of 25 % in the number of trains.

The Kennington Loop

I mentioned the Kennington Loop and this beautiful old drawing shows its layout.

Note.

  1. South is at the top of the drawing.
  2. At present, as I said, the loop turns twenty tph all day.
  3. The extension to Battersea connects to the loop.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows a map of the loop.

Note.

  1. The Charing Cross branch goes to the North-West from Kennington.
  2. The Bank branch goes to the North-East from Kennington.
  3. ,The lines to Battersea are shown dotted.
  4. Trains using the extension to Battersea can only use the Charing Cross branch.

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if the line speed to and from Battersea, is faster than it is round the loop.

It’s just that the lines to Battersea are not such a sharp curve and they have been recently designed and built.

As the Modern branch can handle 30 tph, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the Battersea extension has been designed to handle this frequency.

The Northern Line Extension To Battersea

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the Northern Line Extension To Battersea.

This paragraph introduces the project.

The Northern line extension (NLE) between Kennington and Battersea will help regenerate the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas by supporting new jobs and homes. The extension is scheduled to be completed in autumn 2021.

The opening of the extension could offer benefits to the existing Northern Line.

As I said in the previous section, twenty tph are turned at Kennington using the loop.

Will all these trains now use the new Battersea extension, when it opens?

  • The Battersea extension is fully double-track.
  • Battersea Power Station station has two platforms and a cross-over, so if Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations can handle in excess of 30 tph, I suspect London’s newest terminal station can too!

If the Battersea extension has a design capacity of 30 tph, it would certainly be able to handle 20 tph.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see all trains that currently turn at Kennington will take the Battersea extension, when it opens.

There must surely be the interesting possibility of before the Battersea extension opens to passengers, using it to turn the trains that would otherwise use the loop at Kennington. It would certainly be a very thorough test, of track and signalling.

I am fairly certain, there would be advantages in having the Battersea extension open before the Bank branch is upgraded.

  • Running trains to Battersea could be more efficient than using the Kennington Loop.
  • Opening the Battersea extension would need the signalling at Kennington to be upgraded and fully tested, so any changes needed for increased frequencies on the Charing Cross branch could be performed at the same time.
  • All the residents of the new housing in Battersea. would have an Underground connection.

Opening the Battersea extension will change passenger patterns on the Northern Line and as the changes will be difficult to predict, it would surely be better to upgrade Bank station, after the opening of the Battersea extension.

Thameslink

Thameslink is not mentioned in any of the Transport for London documents, but surely it has a big part to play.

  • Thameslink serves a lot of stations in South and South East London and beyond, including Brighton, East Croydon, Orpington, Sevenoaks and Woolwich Arsenal.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Circle and District Lines at Blackfriars.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Metropolitan and Circle Lines at Farringdon.
  • Thameslink will have an interchange with Crossrail at Farringdon.
  • Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations have good walking routes along the River and to the City.

Thameslink should be appearing on the Tube Map any time soon.

Waterloo And City Line

I am missing the Drain, as it is the easiest way for people in the area, where I live to get to Waterloo station.

I just take a bus to Bank and then walk underground to London’s shortest Underground line.

According to this article on London SE1, it is closed because of the covids, but should reopen in April 2021.

Surely, Transport for London could reopen the line, if they vaccinated all the drivers.

As the Waterloo and City Line has an independent new entrance on Wallbrook, there should be no reason, why it couldn’t reopen before the Northern Line through bank is upgraded.

The Central Line At Bank Station

Nothing has been said, about whether the Central Line will be closed through Bank station, during the upgrade.

I don’t think it will be continuously closed, although access to some parts may be restricted.

There could be partial closures at weekends or in the evenings.

So for commuters and other must-travellers, I suspect the Central Line will get through.

The Circle And District Lines At Monument Station

My thoughts about the Circle and District Line would be similar to the Central Line.

But these lines with their connections at Westminster, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Tower Hill and Whitechapel could prove important during the works.

The Docklands Light Railway At Bank Station

Again my thoughts about the Docklands Light Railway would be similar to the Central Line.

But there is a lot of work going on to improve access to the Docklands Light Railway, and this could result in a closure to allow completion.

Review Bus Use

When I come into London Bridge station, I usually go to the bus station and get a bus, which stops within fifty metres of my front door. Going to London Bridge isn’t as convenient and I take a variety of routes.

But the corridor between London Bridge and Old Street via Bank and Moorgate has three bus routes; 21, 43 and 141, the last two of which terminate in the bus station at London Bridge. I suspect that the frequency of the last two buses could be increased, if they had a few more buses and drivers, and turned them faster at London Bridge.

I also feel there is scope to run a shuttle between Finsbury Square and London Bridge station.

  • It would loop round Finsbury Square at the Northern end.
  • It would loop through London Bridge station, as the 43 and 141 buses currently do.
  • They would serve Moorgate and Bank.
  • As it will be running through a busy part of the City with lots of pedestrians, these buses should be either battery or hydrogen.
  • But as they should be high-capacity double-deckers, battery probably wouldn’t have enough power.

What better way would there be, to showcase London’s new hydrogen buses?

And I’m sure Jo Bamford, would make sure that London had enough new Wrightbus hydrogen buses  to provide the service.

National Rail Between Charing Cross/Waterloo And London Bridge

I am probably not alone in using this route in preference to the Jubilee Line to travel between Westminster and London Bridge, as where there is an alternative to the deep-level Underground, I will often use it.

In my case coming home from Waterloo, I’ll often hop to London Bridge on National Rail and then get a 141 bus home.

This is classic ducking and diving on my part.

I’m sure others will do the same during the Bank branch closure.

I would also hope, that season tickets would allow passengers to swap terminals without too much trouble and any expense.

National Rail Between Cannon Street And London Bridge

Using Cannon Street instead of London Bridge could be an relatively easy alternative for many passengers.

  • It connects to the Circle and District Lines.
  • There are East-West buses outside the station.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

There are a number of useful walking routes from the station, which is towards the bottom of the image slightly towards the right.

  • Bank station is about 300 metres and six minutes away.
  • The North-South buses between Moorgate and London Bridge on King William Street are 200 metres and three minutes away.
  • St. Paul’s is a bit further but it does have the Central Line and lots of buses including the 76 to Moorgate and Old Street stations.

At seventy-three, I can still walk between Cannon Street and Moorgate stations in 15 minutes.

Walking Between London Bridge and Moorgate

Transport for London have said they will review this,

It is not a difficult walk and it has improved since traffic was reduced at Bank.

Conclusion

As originally planned, the timings of the various projects were such that these projects would be more of less completed before the upgrade of the tracks at Bank station was to be performed.

  • Crossrail
  • The Northern Line Extension to Battersea.
  • The new Wallbrook entrance to Bank station.

But no-one had foreseen Covid-19.

So I would plan the date of the Northern Line closure with the utmost care.

February 8, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Go-ahead For £900m London Bishopsgate Goodsyard

The title of this post, is the same as that, of this article on Construction Enquirer.

It seems a good scheme.

  • Mixed-use urban quarter.
  • 500 homes, half affordable.
  • 1.4m sq ft of workspace
  • Public park sitting on top of restored historic railway arches
  • Six acres of public realm.

There is only one major problem, as far as I can see. – If Crossrail is still running late, this project could further delay it, by stealing the resources needed to finish the job.

Yet again, the Mayor has given planning permission to a project that could delay Crossrail, by stealing its resources.

Planning permission, should be conditional on Crossrail being finished.

A Central Line Connection To The East London Line At Shoreditch High Street Station

Shoreditch High Street station will be very close to the development.

There will be twenty trains per hour (tph) on London Overground’s East London Line.

Under Future Proposals in the Wikipedia entry for the station, this is said.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak hours.

I think it will be a good idea, to create the connection.

December 4, 2020 Posted by | News, Transport | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Could Highbury & Islington And Canada Water Stations Be Connected By A Twelve Trains Per Hour Service?

This article on IanVisits, is entitled More Frequent Trains And A New Station For The London Overground.

This is said.

In a statement, the government agreed to requests for £80.8 million from the GLA to support transport upgrades so that 14,000 homes can be built along the East London Line.

Upgrades include

  • New Bermondsey station, which was originally to be called Surrey Canal Road, will be built.
  • A second entrance will be built at Surrey Quays station.
  • Frequency between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations will be increased from four trains per hour (tph) to six tph.
  • Frequency between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations will be increased from four tph to six tph.

The frequency upgrades will mean twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations, or a tyrain every three minutes as opposed to the  current three minutes and forty-five seconds.

Consider the section of the East London Line that I use most between Highbury & Islington and Canada Water stations via Whitechapel station.

  • Highbury & Islington station has good connections to the Victoria Line, the Northern City Line and the North London Line.
  • Highbury & Islington station is the thirteenth busiest station in the UK.
  • Whitechapel station has good connections to the District and Hammersmith & City Lines, which have recently been increased in Frequency.
  • Whitechapel station will be on Crossrail, when it opens.
  • Canada Water station has a good step-free connection to the Jubilee Line.
  • Canada Water station is the seventeenth busiest station in the UK.
  • Currently, the frequency between Highbury & Islington and Canada Water station is eight tph and after the improvements it will be ten tph.

The frequency increase is to be welcomed but I wonder if it could be better.

Would it be possible that in addition to the proposed changes, the West Croydon and Clapham Junction services should swap Northern terminals, as they do on Sundays.

This would not affect any services South of Dalston Junction, but it would increase the number of services between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington via Canonbury to twelve tph.

This would give several benefits.

  1. Passengers changing from the North London Line to go South, would have an easier change at the less-crowded Canonbury station, rather than Highbury & Islington. Canonbury has only one Southbound platform, simpler passenger flows, is fully step-free and as the trains on the East London Line, will be at a higher frequency, the waiting time would be less and a maximum of just five minutes.
  2. Passengers could avoid the cramped Dalston Kingsland, which is not step-free, on many journeys.
  3. Half the trains going North through Dalston Junction would have a cross-platform interchange with the Westbound North London Line at Highbury & Islington.
  4. Passengers going South from Dalston Junction wouldn’t dither about at the bottom of the stairs, trying to ascertain, which train is going first. As there would be sixteen trains per hour leaving on the left island Platform 3/4, only passengers going to New Cross would go right.
  5. Dalston Kingsland and Highbury & Islington is one of the busiest Peak Hour services in the UK. Twelve trains per hour on the alternative route might ease the congestion.
  6. The increased frequency might help, when Arsenal are playing at home.
  7. In some ways, maximising the service between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington, compensates for the annoying cut-back of the 277 bus service.

I do feel that swapping the two services so that both six train per hour services terminate at Highbury & Islington could be beneficial.

Hopefully, TfL have got there first! Unless of course, there’s an operational reason, why the swap can’t be done!

 

October 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Penge Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through Penge West and Penge East stations.

The two stations are a valid out-of-station interchange, but neither is step-free.

Penge East station could be difficult to make step-free, as the footbridge is listed.

I think that it is one of those structures that Network Rail wouldn’t miss, if it was decided to install it at the National Railway Museum.

Could this be one of the reasons, why it has been suggested by Transport for London, that a new station be built, where the lines through the two Penge stations cross.

  • It could be fully step-free.
  • The station would be built on railway land.
  • It would have four tph between Victoria and Bromley South stations.
  • It would have four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • It would have two tph between London Bridge and Caterham stations
  • It might also be possible to have platforms on the Crystal Palace branch, thus adding six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace. stations.
  • The station could have Thameslink platforms.

I feel it would offer the following benefits.

  • Better connection between South East and North London.
  • Better connection between South East London and Crossrail, with all its connections.

Penge Interchange might allow the two older Penge stations to be closed.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

More Frequent Trains And A New Station For The London Overground

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on IanVisits.

This is said.

In a statement, the government agreed to requests for £80.8 million from the GLA to support transport upgrades so that 14,000 homes can be built along the East London Line.

Upgrades include

  • New Bermondsey station, which was originally to be called Surrey Canal Road, will be built.
  • A second entrance will be built at Surrey Quays station.
  • Frequency between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations will be increased from four trains per hour (tph) to six tph.
  • Frequency between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations will be increased from four tph to six tph.

The frequency upgrades will mean twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations, or a tyrain every three minutes as opposed to the  current three minutes and forty-five seconds.

A few thoughts follow.

Surrey Quays Station Upgrade

Ian’s article says this about the new entrance at Surrey Quays station.

The very cramped Surrey Quays station gets a second entrance, which will run under the main road and be based on the north side, where the shopping centre car park is today. That avoids crossing two busy roads, which can take some time if you’re waiting for the lights to change.

This Google Map shows the station and the car park of the Shopping Centre.

These are my pictures, taken at and around the station.

Traffic is bad and the subway suggested by Ian’s wording will be very welcome.

Collateral Benefits At New Cross Gate

New Cross Gate station will be one of several stations along the East London Line to see benefits in service frequency and quality.

The train frequency on East London Line services will rise from eight tph to ten tph.

But this is not all that should or could happen.

  • The service between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations could rise from four tph to six tph.
  • This would mean that New Cross Gate would have a twelve tph service to and from Whitechapel, which in a year or so, will have Crossrail connections to Canary Wharf, Bond Street, Paddington and Heathrow.
  • Southeastern should be getting new higher-capacity, higher-performance and possibly longer trains to replace their elderly trains into London Bridge.
  • Charing Cross station is redeveloped into a higher-capacity, cross-river station, to allow more trains.
  • Digital signalling, as used on Thameslink will be extended to cover all trains through New Cross and New Cross Gate.
  • The Docklands Light Railway to Lewisham will get new and higher-capacity trains.
  • Southeastern Metro services could go to the London Overground.

Could this all mean that the East London Line, Southeastern and Crossrail will more than hold the fort until it is decided to build the Bakerloo Line Extension?

The Bakerloo Line Extension

This map shows the route of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

If and when the Bakerloo Line Extension is built, New Cross Gate will surely become a major transport hub.

If you look at the current and proposed stations on the Southern section of an extended Bakerloo Line, you can say the following.

  • Paddington will get a step-free pedestrian link between Crossrail and the Bakerloo Line.
  • Charing Cross will benefit from more Southeastern Metro services into the main line station.
  • Waterloo will benefit from more Southeastern Metro services through the attached Waterloo East station.
  • Elephant & Castle station will benefit from more Thameslink services through the attached main line station.
  • New Cross Gate will benefit from more Southeastern Metro and East London Line services through the station.
  • Lewisham will benefit from more Southeastern Metro services through the station.

 

But there are no interim benefits for the blue-mauve area, that will be served by the proposed Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2 stations.

In addition, is there a need to add capacity between  the New Cross area and Lewishan? Spiutheastern improvements will help, but the Bakerloo Line Extension will do a lot more!

Except for these two stations, is there a reason to build an extension to the Bakerloo Line, as train services between Charing Cross, Waterloo East and New Cross Gate and Lewisham will be significantly increased in frequency, reach and quality?

A Bakerloo Line Extension Redesign

Whatever happens to the Bakerloo Line, the following should be done.

  • New walk-through trains running at a higher-frequency on the current route.
  • Major access improvements and better connection to main line services at Elrphant & Castle, Wterloo East, Charing Cross and Willesden Junction stations.
  • A radical reorganisation North of Queen’s Park station, in conjunction with the Watford DC Line and the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

This would improve the current line, but it would do nothing for those living where the extension will go!

So why not do what is happening to the Northern Line at Battersea and create a short extension to the Bakerloo Line that serves the areas that need it and one that can be extended in the future?

  • You could argue, that the extension to Lewisham is short and it could be extended to Hayes and other places.
  • I also think, that the route goes via New Cross Gate, as that is one of the few sites in the area, from where a large tunnel could be built.

Ideally, what could be needed is a high-capacity public transport link from Elephant & Castle and Greenwich and/or Lewisham via the Old Kent Road, New Cross Gate and New Cross.

The Germans, the Dutch and others wouldn’t mess about and would run trams along the road, but that would go down with the locals like a lead West London Tram.

So it looks like some form of extension of the Bakerloo Line is the only way to go.

Consider.

  • Two-platform terminal stations at Brixton and Walthamstow Central handle up to thirty-six tph on the Victoria Line.
  • New Cross Gate and New Cross stations are about five hundred metres apart.
  • Double-ended stations like Knightsbridge on the Piccadilly Line and Kings Cross on the Victoria Line work very well.

I would look at building a doublr-ended Bakerloo Line station deep underneath New Cross Road.

  • It would be connected by escalators and lifts to the existing stations at New Cross Gate in the West and New Cross in the East.
  • Provision would be made to extend the line further to either Greenwich or Lewisham.
  • New Cross and Lewisham already have a high-frequency connection around four tph.
  • The whole extension could be built from the single tunnelling location on the Sainsbury’s site at New Cross Gate.
  • There would be no necessity for any works at Lewisham station.

It would probably need more services to be run between New Cross and Lewisham.

Extending The East London Line Service South From New Cross

New Cross is served by the only short service on the London Overground; the four tph between Dalston Junction and New Cross stations.

So could this Rast London Line service be extended South to serve Lewisham to increase services between New Cross and Lewisham?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at New Cross station.

Note how the double-track East London Line, shown in orange, arrives from Surrey Quays station arrives in the North-Western corner of the map, becomes a single-track and then goes under the main lines before going into the bay platform D.

This Google Map shows the same area.

The London Overground track is clearly visible.

Could extra track be added, to enable the following?

  • Southbound trains could join the main line and stop in Platform C
  • Northbound trains could leave the main line after stopping in Platform A and go towards Surrey Quays station.

If this is possible, then  it would give a four tph service between Dalston Junction and Lewisham, with an important stop at Whitechapel to connect to Crossrail.

Lewisham doesn’t have the space for a terminal, but there would appear two possible terminals South of Lewisham.

  • Hayes – Journey time to and from Dalston Junction would take around 53 minutes.
  • Orpington – Journey time to and from Dalston Junction would take around 50 minutes.

Both stations would make ideal terminals.

  • They have bay platforms for terminating the trains.
  • Round trips would be a convenient two hours.
  • Eight trains would be needed for the service.
  • New Cross will have the same four tph to and from Dalston Junction as it does now!
  • Lewisham and Dalston Junction would have a four tph service that would take 27 minutes.

The service could even be split with two tph to each terminal.

Will the Extended Services Need To Replace Other Services?

Currently Hayes has these current Off Peak services.

  • Two tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge
  • Two tph to Charing Cross via London Bridge

I would expect that if digital signalling is applied through the area, that the extra services could be added to Hayes and Orpington as decided.

An Improved Hayes Line

Transport for London and various commentators always assume that the Bakerloo Line will eventually take over the Hayes Line.

This will or could mean the following.

  • Passengers used to a full-size train looking out on the countryside and back gardens through big windows, will have to get used to a more restricted view.
  • Platforms on the Hayes Line will need to be rebuilt, so that two different size of train will be step-free between train and platform.
  • The service could be slower.
  • The ability to walk through an increasingly pedestrianised Central London to and from Cannon Street, Charing Cross and London Bridge will be lost.
  • Loss of First Class seats. which will happen anyway!

I think that passengers will want to stick with the current service.

The only reason to allow the Bakerloo Line Extension to take over the Hayes Line, is that it would allow another four tph to run between Lewisham and London Bridge. But digital signalling could give the same benefit!

But what if the Overground muscled in?

The Hayes Line could take up to four tph between Dalston Junction and Hayes, via Lewisham and New Cross, which would give these benefits.

  • Increased capacity on the Hayes Line.
  • An excellent connection to Crossrail, which would give a better connection to the West End, Liverpool Street and Heathrow.
  • Better connection to the Eastern side of the City of London and Canary Wharf.

There would be no mahor changes to the infrastructure, except for the installation of digital signalling, which will happen anyway.

Times To And From Crossrail

Times to and from Whitechapel, with its Crossrail connection are.

  • Lewisham – 17 minutes
  • Hayes – 44 minutes
  • Orpington – 41 minutes

The current service between Orpington and Farrington, which also will connect to Crossrail, takes 52 minutes.

Penge Interchange

Although, this has not been funded, I think that this new interchange could be very much in Transport for London’s plans.

I discuss the possible Penge Interchnge station in Penge Interchange.

It’s certainly something to watch out for, as it could improve connectivity by a large amount.

The View From The Dalston Omnibus

For decades, Dalston had a terrible reputation and then came the Overground, which changed everything.

There are now these combined devices from the two Dalston stations.

  • Eoght tph to Stratford
  • Four tph to Richmond via Willesden Junction
  • Four tph to Clapham Junction via Willesden Junction
  • Four tph to Clapham Junction via Surrey Quays
  • Four tph to Creystal Palace via Surrey Quays
  • Four tph to New Cross via Surrey Quays
  • Four tph to West Croydon via Surrey Quays

There is also a useful eight tph connecting service between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington.

In the next couple of years, these developments should happen.

  • Services on the East London Line will be increased with an extra two tph to Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace.
  • Services on the North London Line will be increased to cope with overcrowding. As the Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington connecting service will be going to ten tph, it would seem logical that the North London Line service should match this frequency.
  • Crossrail will open and Dalston will have a twenty tph connection to its services at Whitechapel.

Dalston needs better connections to either main line terminal stations or their interchanges a  few miles out.

Currently, Dalston has very useful connections to the following main interchanges.

  • Stratford for the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Clapham Junction for the South Western Railway and Southern services.
  • Richmond for Windsor and Reading services.
  • Whjitechapel will provide a link to Crossrail.
  • In addition the planned update at Norwood Junction will give better connection to services to Gatwick, Brighton and other services to the South of Croydon.

Better interchanges are needed with services to the North and the South East of London.

Extending the Dalston Junction and New Cross service to Hayes or Orpington via Lewisham could greater improve the train service from Dalston, by providing interchange to services fanning out into and beyond South East London.

Conclusion

I am drawn to these two conclusions.

  • The Bakerloo Line should be extended via two new Old Kent Road stations to a double-ended terminal station in New Cross with interchange to both New Cross Gate and New Cross stations.
  • The New Cross branch of the London Overground should be extended through Lewisham to Orpington and/or Hayes.

Coupled with planned increases in frequency, reach and quality of existing services, this would surely help serve the housing development planned for South East London.

September 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Frequent Trains And A New Station For The London Overground

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on IanVisits.

This is a summary of what Ian says.

  • The new Surrey Canal Road station will be built and called New Bermondsey.
  • A second entrance will be built at Surrey Quays station.
  • Updated signalling will allow the frequency of trains  through the core section of the East London Line to rise from sixteen trains per hour (tph) to twenty.
  • The service between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations will be increased from four to six tph.
  • The service between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations will be increased from four to six tph.

Ian says this about the link between funding and project delivery.

.The funding under the HIF needs to be spent by 2023, so that’s the deadline for the upgrades to be delivered.

It is a substantial upgrade, which is supported by a Government grant of £80.3million to help in the construction of 14,000 homes.

These are my thoughts.

New Bermondsey Station

I covered building this station in Would This Be The Easiest Station To Build In The UK?.

These pictures were taken in 2015.

The station is close to Millwall FC’s stadium  and this Google Map shows the relationship between the stadium and the station.

The stadium is at the top of the map and the station is in the South-East corner of the map and will be built over Surrey Canal Road.

The Second Entrance At Surrey Quays Station

Ian says this about the second entrance at Surrey Quays station.

The very cramped Surrey Quays station gets a second entrance, which will run under the main road and be based on the north side, where the shopping centre car park is today. That avoids crossing two busy roads, which can take some time if you’re waiting for the lights to change.

This Google Map shows the area around the station.

Ian’s description fits well!

Extra Trains

Both the Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace routes take around 40-45 minutes with a generous turnround time, giving a round trip time of two hours.

  • This would mean that currently both these routes both need eight trains.
  • Increase the frequency to six tph and both routes need twelve trains.
  • This means that another eight trains will be needed to boost the frequency from four tph to six on both routes.

The extra trains should preferably be Class 378 trains, as these are certified for working through the Thames Tunnel, whereas the new Class 710 trains are not.

  • Six Class 710 trains are destined for the Watford DC Line, where they will replace the current Class 378 trains, which will go to the East London Line.
  • There are also six five-car Class 710 trains on order to boost services on the North and West London Lines, which could allow a few five-car Class 378 trains to more to the East london Line.

If Bombardier can deliver the Class 710 trains, then I don’t see have any problems in finding enough trains for the East London Line.

In fact, if London Overground decided to run more services through the Thames Tunnel, they probably have enough trains to run 24 tph on the East London Line, if they should wish.

Would It Be Better To Turn Both 6 tph Services At Highbury & Islington Station?

The East London Line has its own dedicated tracks between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington stations, with an intermediate stop at Canonbury station.

  • Currently, there are eight tph between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington
  • If the Crystal Palace service is increased by two tph, the frequency will increase to ten tph  between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington.
  • If the Clapham Junction service is increased by two tph and turns back at Highbury & Islington station, the frequency will increase to twelve tph between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington.

To travellers like me, who live halfway between Canonbury and Dalston Junction station, the increased frequency could be very welcome.

  • If I’m coming from the West on the North London Line, I will often change trains at Canonbury, take one stop to Dalston Junction and then take a bus to my house.
  • From the East, I’ll use the cross-platform interchange at Canonbury, and go home via Dalston Junction and a bus.
  • Tranport for London have recently halved the bus service between my house and Highbury & Islington station, so I tend to use the  Canonbury change more often.

The increase in frequency between Canonbury and Dalston Junction stations, will mean that those changing to go South will have less time to wait.

It would surely help at Dalston Junction station, in that if both six tph services, went through to Highbury & Islington, as passengers would sort themselves out better in busy times, as to which platform to use.

  • Platform 1 – 12 tph to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington
  • Plstform 2 – 4 tph to and from Surray Quays and New Cross
  • Platform 3 – 4 tph to and from Surray Quays and West Croydon
  • Platform 4 – 12 trains to Surray Quays and Crystal Palace or Clapham Junction

\s Platforms 3 and 4 share a spacious island platform, effectively it will be a  16 tph Southbound platform.

South of Dalston Junction station, there will be the same increase to 20 tph, no matter where the individual services turn back.

I suspect too, that there if twelve tph by-passed Dalston Junction station, as they do in the through platforms, that operationally, it might be easier.

 

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future Of Class 378 Trains

This post is a musing on the future of the Class 378 trains.

The Thames Tunnel

The Thames Tunnel is the tail that wags the East London Line, when it comes to trains.

  • For evacuation and safety purposed, trains running through the tunnel, must have an emergency exit through the driver’s cab.
  • It hasn’t happened yet, as far as I know, but a version of Sod’s Law states if you ran trains without this emergency exit, you’d need to use it.
  • London Overground’s Class 378 trains have this feature, but their Class 710 trains do not.

So it would appear that until Bombardier build an Aventra with an emergency exit through the driver’s cab, that the existing Class 378 trains must work all services through the Thames Tunnel.

Incidentally, I can’t think of another long tunnel, that might be served by the London Overground, so it could be that Class 378 trains will be the only trains to go through the Thames Tunnel, until they wear out and need to go to the scrapyard.

Six Car Trains On The East London Line

I covered this in Will The East London Line Ever Get Six-Car Trains? and I came to this conclusion.

I will be very surprised if Network Rail’s original plan on six-car trains on the East London Line happens in the next few years.

It might happen in the future, but it would need expensive platform extensions at Shadwell, Wapping, Rotherhithe and Canada Water and Surrey Quays stations.

Increased Frequency On The East London Line

If five-car Class 378 trains are the limit, the only way to increase capacity of the East London Line would be to increase frequency.

The current frequency of the East London Line is sixteen trains per hour (tph)

There are four tph on each of these routes.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Dalston Junction And New Cross
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

Two increases are planned.

  • 2018 – 6 tph – Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • 2019 – 6 tph – Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction

This would increase the frequency of the East London Line to twenty tph.

It will probably mean an updated digital signalling system on the East London Line.

Eventually, I think it likely, that a full ERTMS system as is fitted to Thameslink and Crossrail will be fitted to at least the East London Line, but possibly the whole Overground network.

Digital signalling would certainly allow the twenty-four tph frequency of Thameslink and CXrossrail, which could mean that the four routes all received a frequency of four tph.

But Thameslink and Crossrail are theoretically capable of handling thirty tph or a train every two minutes, through their central tunnels.

If the two modern multi-billion pound tunnels can handle 30 tph, why can’t their little brother, that started life as a half-million pound pedestrian tunnel in 1843,

The Number Of Trains Needed For The Current Service

If I go through the routes of the original Overground, I find the following.

Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction

Trains take 46 minutes to go South and 44 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

Dalston Junction And New Cross

Trains take 22 minutes both ways and a round trip would take an hour.

This means that the current four tph service would need four trains.

A six tph service in the future would need six trains.

Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace

Trains take 44 minutes to go South and 43 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

Trains take 52 minutes both ways and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

This means that the current four tph on all four routes needs twenty-eight trains.

The Proposed 2020 Service

This will have two extra tph to Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction and will need thirty-six trains.

Six Trains Per Hour On All Four Routes

as each route terminates at both ends in a single platform, which can handle six tph, with the right signalling, I feel that this could be the design objective of the East London Line, when it was built in the early-2010s.

This could be achieved with forty-two trains, leaving perhaps twelve to fifteen trains for other duties, depending on how many are needed on stand-by or are in maintenance.

What Could Be Done With Twelve Trains?

As I calculated earlier, three routes need twelve trains to provide a six tph service.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

All three services take between 44 and 52 minutes.

So could another six tph service that takes around this time be added to the current four services?

Willesden Junction As A Northern Terminal

Trains could take the North London Line to Willesden Junction and terminate in the Bay Platform 2.

I estimate the following timings from Willesden Junction.

  • Highbury & Islington – 27 mins
  • Dalston Junction – 31 mins
  • Whitechapel –  – 41 mins
  • New Cross – 49 mins
  • Crystal Palace – 64 mins
  • Clapham Junction – 73 mins.
  • West Croydon – 74 mins

It would appear that the only possible Southern terminal of the current four, would be New Cross, as that is the only terminal within the 44-52 minute range of journey time.

So could a service between Willesden Junction and New Cross replace the current one between Dalston Junction and New Cross?

  • It would need to be run using dual-voltage trains
  • Voltage changeover could be at Highbury & Islington station.
  • Extending the New Cross service would free up a bay platform at Dalston Junction station.
  • It should be possible to have a frequency of six tph.
  • Serious modifications or additions to infrastructure would probably not be required.

As running to Willesden Junction was talked about before the Overground opened, I wonder if the numerous crossovers on the North London Line, already allow trains from the East London Line to terminate at Willesden Junction.

Southern Terminals Via New Cross Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at New Cross station.

Note how the double-track East London Line, shown in orange, arrives from Surrey Quays station arrives in the North-Western corner of the map, becomes a single-track and then goes under the main lines before going into the bay platform D.

This Google Map shows the same area.

The London Overground track is clearly visible.

Could extra track be added, to enable the following?

  • Southbound trains could join the main line and stop in Platform C
  • Northbound could leave the main line after stopping in Platform A and go towards Surrey Quays station.

If this is possible, then trains could run between Dalston Junction and Lewisham stations.

Once at Lewisham they would have choice of Southern terminal,

Hayes As A Southern Terminal

Consider a service between Dalston Junction and Hayes stations.

  • I estimate that a train could go between the two stations in 53 minutes.
  • Hayes station has two terminal platforms

Six tph would probably be too many services, but 2-3 tph might be very welcome.

Orpington As A Southern Terminal

Consider a service between Dalston Junction and Orpington stations.

  • I estimate that a train could go between the two stations in 47  minutes.
  • Orpington station has three terminal platforms.

Six tph would probably be too many services, but 2-3 tph might be very welcome.

A Combined Hayes And Orpington Service

As a case can be made for services to both Hayes and Orpington via Lewisham, I think the ideal service could be two tph to both Hayes and Orpington.

  • There would be four tph between Dalston Junction and Lewisham.
  • Stations on the East London Line would have access to the important interchange station at Lewisham.
  • Several stations on the routes to Hayes and Orpington would have a two tph service to Crossrail and the Jubilee Line.

Other Stations Via New Cross

Looking at rail maps, there would seem to be several possibilities including with their times from Dalston junction station.

  • Beckenham Junction – 41 mins
  • Bromley North – 40 mins
  • Gove Park – 35 mins

There are probably others.

Southern Terminals Via Peckham Rye Station

As an example Streatham Common station is planned to be a major interchange and is 43 minutes from Dalston Junction.

Would a bay platform work here as an East london Line terminal?

Conclusion

If all fifty-seven Class 378 trains worked the East London Line, they could run six tph on the current routes.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Dalston Junction And New Cross
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

It would need forty-two trains.

Suppose the Dalston Junction and New Cross service was replaced with a Willesden Junction and New Cross service.

  • This would provide a useful direct four tph service between East and North London.
  • Changing at Highbury & Islington station would be avoided for a lot of journeys.
  • The journey time wold be around 49 minutes.
  • A two tph service would need four trains.
  • A four tph service would need eight trains.
  • A six tph service would need twelve trains.
  • Many journeys between North and South London would now be possible with just a single same platform interchange.

To run the following frequencies on this route would mean these total frequencies on the East London Line and total numbers of trains.

  • 2 tph – 20 tph – 40 trains
  • 4 tph – 22 tph – 44 trains
  • 6 tph – 24 tph – 48 trains

I think that if the figures are juggled a bit, there is enough trains to run extra services to one or more Southern destinations from Dalston Junction.

My preference would be a split service of 2 tph to both Hayes and Orpington via New Cross, where some new track would be needed.

This would do the following.

  • Create a frequent connection between South-East and North-East London.
  • Both areas would be connected to Crossrail and several Underground Lines, including the future Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • The Hayes Line would be shared between Overground and Southeastern trains.

No more new trains or large amounts of new infrastructure would be needed.

I suspect that London Overground and the new Southeastern franchise can do better than my musings.

 

 

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Has The Canonbury Cross-Over Become More Difficult?

In The Canonbury Cross-Over, I described how it was possible at Canonbury station to change easily from a Westbound train on the North London Line to a Southbound-train on the East London Line.

Services through Canonbury station on the East London Line in trains per hour (tph) are.

  • Four tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations.
  • Four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.

This means that eight tph call in Platform 2 at Canonbury station.

Services through Canonbury station on the North London Line used to be.

  • Four tph between Richmond and Stratford stations.
  • Two tph between Clapham Junction and Stratford stations.

This means that six tph call in Platform 3 at Canonbury station.

Since the December 2018 Timetable Change, two tph have been added to the Clapham Junction service.

So now both services calling at Platform 2/3 have the same frequency of eight tph.

So Why Does The Canonbury Cross-Over Appear To Be More Difficult?

Today, I was coming from Stratford on a Richmond train and was changing to the East London Line to Dalston Junction station, from where I can get a bus from outside the station to my house.

It takes a bit longer, but I was carrying my weekend shopping and as Dalston Junction station has lifts, if you need them and Dalston Kingsland station doesn’t, A lot of passengers, seem to use the Canonbury Cross-Over, when they are going from Stratford to stations on the East London Line.

As my train arrived at Canonbury station, in Platform 3, a Southbound-train was leaving Platform 2. So I had a wait of seven minutes in the rain for the next train to Dalston Junction station.

Since the Timetable Change, it appears that I am having to wait for several minutes a lot more.

Look at these times from the 6th of February. The time is when a train on the North London Line calls in Platform 3 and the integer is the number of minutes before the train calls on the East London Line in Platform 2.

  • 1150 – 7
  • 1157 – 0
  • 1205 – 7
  • 1212 – 0
  • 1220 – 7
  • 1227 – 0
  • 1235 – 7
  • 1242 – 2
  • 1250 – 7
  • 1257 – 0
  • 1305 – 7
  • 1312 – 0
  • 1320 – 7
  • 1327 – 0
  • 1335 – 7
  • 1342 – 0
  • 1353 – 4
  • 1357 – 0
  • 1405 – 7
  • 1312 – 0

In some cases two Southbound trains call between two Westbound ones.

Quite frankly, it’s crap!

Why?

I am no expert on railway timetabling, but if I look at the timetable, it appears that the two trains often seem to be timetabled to arrive at the same time.

As Southbound trains on the East London Line have only come one stop from Highbury & Islington station, are they more likely to be on time, than North London Line trains that have come all the way from Stratford station.

So like today, do North London Line trains arrive after the East London Line train has departed?

Conclusion

The timetable needs to be improved.

Would it be possible to timetable the East London Line trains a couple of minutes after those on the North London Line?

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will The East London Line Ever Get Six-Car Trains?

On the East London Line yesterday, I was in the front car and it was noticeable how passengers moved backwards and forwards along the train so they could find a seat and also get in and out easily at the stations with short platforms.

It got me thinking, about whether six-car trains could be run on the East London Line.

Before I discuss this, I’ll give a few facts. Some are history and some are future plans.

The Original Line

I can remember taking the London Underground  era line between New Cross Gate and Whitechapel stations, to get between Haywards Heath and Mile End stations. I had a client at the former and my youngest son, used to live by the latter.

The trains were four-car A60/62 Stock with a length of just 65 metres!

There were five intermediate stations, which coming North were as follows.

  • Surray Quays
  • Canada Water
  • Rotherhithe
  • Wapping
  • Shadwell

The platforms and those at Whitechapel, were probably not much longer than the original trains.

The platforms have been improved in recent years.

  • When the Jubilee Line was built, Canada Water station was rebuilt, but the platforms on the East London Line were not substantially lengthened.
  • When the Overground was created in the early part of this century, the platforms ended up at their current length of around eighty metres.
  • Recently, to create a better interchange for Crossrail, the platforms at Whitechapel station have been lengthened to around a hundred metres.

So there is now four short platforms on the East London Line.

The Class 378 Trains

The Class 378 trains were originally ordered as three-car trains, which were about sixty metres long.

Was this short length to fit the short platforms or was it because it was felt that these trains would be adequate for the route?

By the time, the trains entered service in 2010, the trains had all been extended to four-cars.

But this was still inadequate and in 2013 an order was placed to lengthen all trains to five cars, which was completed in January 2016.

Fitting Five-Car Trains Into Four-Car Platforms

Travel in the last coach of a train between Shadwell and Canada Water stations and when a station stop is made, you are left in the tunnel.

Some or all the doors don’t open and a announcement tells you, that if you want to get out, you should move forward in the train. This picture shows the last carriages of a train at Canada Water station.

The less-than-perfect arrangement works very well.

  • The walk-through nature of the trains means passengers can easily walk forward if required.
  • The announcements are numerous and clear.
  • Only Canada Water station, with its interchange to the Jubilee Line is a busy station.

But what probably makes the system work so well, is the fact that East Londoners are the World Champions at ducking and diving and they adjust their behaviour to the less-than-perfect arrangement.

The Length Of The Northern Platforms

Travelling home to Dalston Junction station in the last carriage, I got the impression, that all platforms are built to comfortably accept five-car trains.

It also appears that the two central bay platforms at Dalston Junction station were built for five-car trains.

This picture shows Platform 2 at Dalston Junction station.

The Length Of The Southern Platforms

I have looked at nearly all the Southern platforms on all four Southern branches and there seems to be few if any platforms, that couldn’t take a six-car train. It should be noted that most platforms are shared with Southern services which are run by longer trains.

These pictures show Sydenham station.

Platform lengths like these are typical of many stations.

Work would be needed at Platform 2 at Clapham Junction station.

But there is space to extend the platform.

There are no problems at West Croydon station, where it seems all trains now use the bay Platform 1.

There appear to be no plans to increase services to West Croydon station from four tph, but turning the trains in the bay platform might make scheduling easier.

The Rebuilding Of Whitechapel Station

Whitechapel station is being rebuilt to provide an interchange between Crossrail, the District and Hammersmith & City Lines and the East London Line.

  • The rebuilt East London Line platforms appear to be long enough for six-car trains.
  • There will be two footbridges over the East London Line.
  • There will be lifts and possibly escalators.

It will be a major high-capacity interchange.

The connection to Crossrail at Whitechapel station may actually take pressure from the Canada Water station.

Will passengers from the Northern section of the East London Line change at Whitechapel for Crossrail, if they are going to the West End or Canary Wharf, rather than using the Jubilee Line from Canada Water station.

As Crossrail will open up a large number of new routes, I believe, Whitechapel station will become one of the most important interchanges in East London.

East London Line Frequency Will Be Increased

This table shows Transport for London’s plas for the London Overground.

Note.

  1. In 2018, two extra trains per hour (tph) are planned to be run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace.
  2. In 2019, two extra tph are planned to be run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction.

This will mean that the frequency through the core of the East London Line will rise from 16 tph to 20 tph. This will be a train every three minutes.

It also means that the London Overground will be running ten tph between Whitechapel and Sydenham stations, with a call at New Cross Gate, which could become an important interchange.

Platforms Would Need To Be Lengthened

I think that, unless someone can come up with an innovative solution, that there will need to be some platform l;lengthening  to accommodate six car trains on the East Londoin Line.

The tricky problem would be extending the platforms at Shadwell, Wapping, Rotherhithe and Canada Water stations.

Could Frequencies Be Increased?

After the increase of frequencies to Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction to four tph, there will be twenty tph, through the core of the East London Line.

With five-car trains, this would be a hundred cars per hour and with six-car trains, it would be 120 cars per hour.

Suppose another four tph, were to be squeezed through the core, then this would be 24 tph. With five-car trains, this would be 120 cars per hour.

There would be two main alternatives to increase the frequency.

  • Run six tph on all the four routes.
  • Add a new route, with a frequency of four tph.

Note.

  1. Twenty-four tph, is a frequency that is proposed for Crossrail and Thameslink using digital signalling.
  2. There will be one train every two and a half minutes.
  3. No major engineering work would be required at the stations with short platforms.

I very much feel, that increasing the frequency of trains, will be more affordable than using six-car trains.

The Problem Of Creating Six-Car Trains

Note these points about running trains through the core of the East London Line.

  • Class 378 trains have an end door, so that passengers can be evacuated in the Thames Tunnel.
  • Aventras don’t have end doors and would need to be updated.
  • Five-car Class 378 trains can be replaced by Aventras on the North London Line and the Watford DC Line, to release more trains for the East London Line.

But the biggest problem, is probably that Bombardier don’t make Electrostars any more, and the factory ihas been turned over to Aventra production.

Conclusion

I will be very surprised if Network Rail’s original plan on six-car trains on the East London Line happens in the next few years.

 

 

 

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments